Religion can't justify workplace discrimination

On March 7, the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals found that there was no religious exemption to Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. The ruling means that Texas employers and others cannot use their religious beliefs to justify discrimination against a worker. The court ruled on a case involving a transgender worker who was terminated after informing the funeral home where she worked that she was beginning her transition.

The EEOC and the women obtained a 3-0 decision in their favor. In its ruling, the court specifically noted that Title VII makes it illegal to discriminate against those who fail to conform to gender stereotypes. A lower court had previously ruled that requiring the funeral home to keep the employee would be a burden given the owner's religious beliefs. However, the 6th Circuit found that complying with Title VII would place no such burden on him.

This was one of many cases that have recently been put before various courts regarding worker discrimination. The 2nd and 7th Circuits both found in favor of employees who had been terminated based on their sexual orientation. Another case in front of the 8th Circuit involves a man who claims that his offer of employment was rescinded based on his sexual orientation. In that case, the company allegedly believed that the man's sexual orientation went against its faith.

There are many ways in which an individual may be faced with discrimination in the workplace. For instance, a person may be denied the ability to advance within the company or have a job offer rescinded. Those who are victims of such discrimination may benefit by talking to an attorney. Legal counsel may help a client obtain compensation or other forms of relief under Title VII or similar legislation.

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